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Rough Water: Stories of Survival from the Sea (Adrenaline) Paperback – December 27, 1998

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Clint Willis, the anthologist de l'extrème who brought us High, takes to the brine for a wide-lens collection of tales from the high seas in Rough Water. Much of it aims for the outer reach as portrayed in Sebastian Junger's Perfect Storm. Armchair navigators will thrill to the dangers and codes of honor that intermingle in the surf, as in Robin Knox-Johnston's stiff-upper-lip telling of his solo circumglobal sail: "I was in the lead and stood a slight chance of winning, and I felt that this would be worth giving an eye for, so I carried on." And like many anthologies, this one may draw readers to the full-length versions. Tony Farrington's harrowing account of a rescue in the South Pacific stands on its own, but others, like Steven Callahan's "Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea," beg for a full telling. Not recommended for a pleasure cruise. --Tipton Blish

From Library Journal

The hypnotic appeal of danger, hardship, extreme elements, and facing death are fascinating to many readers, as witnessed by the popularity of The Perfect Storm and Into Thin Air. Both books related the drama surrounding nature at its most violent and dangerous. Epic is a compilation of 15 memorable expeditions to world-famous peaks. Included here are Jon Krakauer's solo ascent of Devil's Thumb in Alaska, a winter ascent of Mt. McKinley, and Alfred Lansing's narrative of the 1915 Shackleton expedition. The listener experiences cold, hunger, and fright at the hands of writers who are actual climbers. Their words are powerful because they ring with authenticity. The hardships these climbers endured go almost beyond human comprehension. In one story, a man is stricken with blood clots in his legs; his team members go through tremendous difficulties in an attempt to bring him down rather than continue their climb to the summit. Another story recounts a blinding snowstorm that keeps climbers in their tents for many days and describes the great efforts that must be made merely to melt enough water to stay alive. Rough Water is an anthology of sea stories, mixing fictional excerpts from lengthier works with accounts of factual disasters and includes a portion of Two Years Before the Mast and an episode from Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny. Among the most fascinating are Lawrence Beesley's eyewitness account of the sinking of the Titanic and a shipwreck survivor's diary of a 74-day ordeal aboard an inflatable raft. What keeps Rough Water from being as compelling as Epic is the offsetting move from true-life encounters to fictional stories and from chapters that leave you hanging, either wanting to know what happens or not caring about the outcome. Epic, on the other hand, is powerful, bringing the prospect of frostbitten flesh, chattering teeth, sudden avalanches, and treacherous ice paths into vivid clarity. The listener feels the intense discomforts and experiences the worry of the climbers but, with morbid fascination, still wants more. Both collections are read by experienced audio narrators Rick Adamson, Eric Conger, Alan Sklar, Graeme Malcolm, Simon Prebble, and the king himself, George Guidall. Each reader performs competently, adding to the suspense and momentum of each story. Parts of the "Adrenaline Series," both books are recommended for public library collections.
-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Adrenaline
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1st edition (December 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560251743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560251743
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,892,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Save your money and purchase the REAL stories 'outlined' in this cheap book put together to ride the wave of The Perfect Storm. The collection of stories is nothing more than a collection of extended abstracts of the real stories. Many of the 'abstracts' are taken out of context and the reader does not get an accurate picture of what and why the nautical situation developed or how it concluded. Pass on this one.
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By A Customer on October 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have never known much about life at sea. I got this book because it was in the series of good collections by Clint Willis. I figured it would probably not be as good as his others, but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked as much if not more. Stories ranging between the plights of sea-men caught in huge storms to single individuals trapped in the solitude of an open sea. These stories are from today as well as from the distant past. If you're intrigued by the sea but don't have much knowledge of the world it creates, take a look at this book. It's wonderfully diverse and highly adventurous.
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Format: Paperback
These accounts by sailors captured in truly overwhelming situations form a microcosm of humanity in extremis--the reader can't help but compare his or her notions of his/her bravery, cowardice, fortitude, skill, intelligence, and sanity to those of the real-life characters in the anthology. Though the book is awash in humbling, awe-inspiring accounts of the almost mythic power of the ocean, its storms and waves and wind and rain are secondary to the humanity of the people in its grasp. The most compelling element of these stories is the will to survive of their characters, and the craftiness and real bravery employed in doing so (with a couple notable and harrowing exceptions). There isn't a weak selection here.
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